There is much to say about David Tepper. Born in 1957 in Pittsburgh, he grew up interested in baseball and football. He also had a knack for numbers. This would be seen in sports statistics first, but it would not be long before he was interested in the markets. His earliest taste of the market was for 100 shares in a company from his father, that would later fail.
David Tepper would not be held back from delving further into business. After getting an Economics degree from the University of Pittsburgh, he achieved an MBA from Carnegie Mellon in Industrial Admin.
This led to the first position of his career over in Ohio, working for Republic Steel. Two years after this, he would move over to working in mutual funds. Soon after that, David would find his first major success.
In 1985 he was hired into a new branch at Goldman Sachs and rose in less than a year to be their top trader. He would stay there for nearly a decade. This timeframe includes the 1987 stock market troubles, an important time for any trading firm.
David Tepper helped Goldman Sachs greatly by buying up suddenly cheap stock in the financial companies hurt by the crash. Those companies recovered, and David made a small fortune for the company. This savvy play made David an even bigger standout at Goldman Sachs.
This made it stand out strongly when he was consistently not being promoted, and David decided to leave to find a better path in 1992. As usual, David’s insight was spot on. He worked to build up his capital via trading for a year, and then he started his own fund in 1993, Appaloosa Management.
David Tepper and Appaloosa Management
Appaloosa Management has had many successes in its history, but very few trading history success stories can match Appaloosa in 2009. In February and March, Appaloosa bought huge amounts of shares that had just fallen drastically, such as Bank of America.
These banks would go on to recover strongly after the bailouts, and Appaloosa made an estimated $7 billion. A whopping $4 billion of that went directly to the insightful Mr. Tepper. It should be no surprise that no one beat this figure in hedge fund trading that year. It also obviously made David incredibly wealthy.
Remember how David liked sports as a kid? Well, that had never faded. In 2009 he bought a small slice of the Pittsburgh Steelers, just 5%. That may seem insignificant, but it went on to play a major role. In 2018, David Tepper purchased his own football team.
There was at least one other major bidder. However, David was bolstered in the negotiating process by already having been vetted as an owner when he got his piece of the Steelers. Combining the will, passion, and cash needed, David managed to become the sole owner of the Carolina Panthers for a little over $2.2 billion in May 2018.
Some estimates put David Tepper’s net worth at $11 billion in 2019. Along with these many accomplishments, David’s legacy stands strong in the Tepper School of Business at his alma mater Carnegie Mellon. This may be partly due to a donation of $67 million that Tepper had made to them in 2013. He is an amazing trader and a passionate sports fan. We wish him the best.